Pet owner addresses community concerns over dog safety, calls for understanding

NEED FOR UNDERSTANDING: David Mackenzie (pictured with 16-month-old rottweiler Lloyd) believes owners and community members must commit to learning more about their animals. Picture: Lachlan Grey
NEED FOR UNDERSTANDING: David Mackenzie (pictured with 16-month-old rottweiler Lloyd) believes owners and community members must commit to learning more about their animals. Picture: Lachlan Grey

A Cootamundra rottweiler owner has tempered down safety fears surrounding large dogs and called for greater understanding from pet-owners and community members alike.

It comes after a series of dog-related incidents last week during which a lady was hospitalised and a dog was killed.

In the aftermath, local veterinarian Yvette Cameron-Cook spoke out against a perceived lack of care and attention given to domesticated animals, stating injuries caused by stray or loose dogs were the responsibility of owners.

Proud rottweiler owner David Mackenzie agrees but believes large dogs like sixteen-month-old Lloyd are often misjudged.

“Dogs like Lloyd here are protection dogs … and it’s not in their nature to be aggressive,” he said.

“People walking down the street can get alarmed by their size and appearance but it’s only because they don’t really understand the animal and the species.”

Mr Mackenzie put over two years research into the rottwelier species, learning about their historical role in Europe and liaising with renown Victorian breeders Von Zennith Kennels before finally settling on Lloyd.

“I put about 12 months research into these blokes and another 12 into finding a breeder that knew exactly what they were doing,” he said.

“Rottweilers are excellent workers and their heritage can be dated back to the Roman Empire.”

“Lloyd here is a pure pedigree with German parentage – his father was a 67kg champion dog in Germany and Australia and his mother was 57kg.”

Though only a pup, Lloyd still weighs in at 53kg and has a bite force of 400 pounds but Mr Mackenzie believes the statistics belie their true nature

“He’s a powerful dog but it all comes down to their temperament,” Mr Mackenzie said.

“They’re really laid back creatures – he’s just as happy lying around at home as he is out walking in the bush – but the key is mental stimulation.

“Rottweilers are very intelligent and high-energy dogs which means they can be a bit pig-headed at times, so you’ve really got to put time into them.

“You have to train them everyday, walk them every day, socialise with them every day.

“We’ll go out into the bush for walks and go up and down the main street to get him accustomed to people.”

Mr Mackenzie echoed Mrs Cameron-Cook’s sentiments on owner responsibility but sympathised for the animals involved last week, arguing breeding and owner care was key to the welfare of all parties involved.

“It only takes one or two incidents in twelve months to give a breed a bad name.

“If dogs like rottweilers are well trained, cared for and constantly stimulated, those things just don’t happen, ever.

“The trouble starts when young owners get untrained mixed breed dogs used for pigging who don’t get out of their backyards otherwise. 

“There’s more to breeding than letting two dogs mate and in the wrong hands, a poorly trained non-pedigree dog can be 60kg worth of damage.”